If you are thinking about transitioning to a career in applied mathematics or furthering your knowledge in the field, you can be confident knowing that there are plenty of opportunities and the job market is strong. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 31% growth in employment for mathematicians and statisticians from now until 2031—showing signs that it’s highly marketable and versatile. Individuals with diverse backgrounds and skill sets can be successful in applied mathematics, regardless of whether they have previous experience in industries such as finance, engineering, or computer science, or a background in education or research.
In applied mathematics, core mathematical practices such as analysis and pattern recognition are used to identify and solve problems in a wide variety of industries. For those interested in the field, this means it is a career path that is not confined to a single sector or type of business. However, it is crucial to understand the requirements and industry-specific experience that may be necessary for certain positions.
Which Industries Offer Careers in Applied Mathematics?
Because applied mathematics is a highly adaptable skill, the demand for these professionals spans several industries, including:
- Finance—Developing financial models, analyzing financial data, and creating risk management strategies.
- Technology—Designing algorithms, creating computer programs, and solving complex technical problems.
- Science—Working in research and development for scientific organizations, using mathematical skills to analyze data and develop theories.
- Government—Analyzing data and solving problems related to national security, public policy, and related issues.
- Healthcare—Interpreting patient data and developing algorithms to improve quality of care.
- Business—Identifying trends and patterns in data and producing corresponding reports that clearly communicate how certain factors might impact a company.
5 Applied Mathematics Careers
1. Financial Analyst
General Description: Analyze market data and economic reports to evaluate the performance and measure the potential of a company, industry or market and recommend investment strategies based on their findings.
Job Outlook: Projected to grow 9% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 32,000 openings projected each year.
Average Salary: $91,580
Standard Education: A bachelor’s degree in business or a related field is typically required, and a master’s degree is often preferred. Some positions require a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) license. Some financial analysts also choose to become Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certified.
Example Career Path: After choosing an investment field to specialize in and gaining some experience, financial analysts may become portfolio managers for a specific company.
General Description: Use mathematical principles and techniques to analyze data, develop algorithms, and model complex systems.
Job Outlook: Projected to grow 31% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 4,100 openings projected each year.
Average Salary: $108,100
Standard Education: Mathematicians typically have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or a related field, such as physics or computer science. Many also have a master’s or doctoral degree in mathematics, which is required for many academic and research positions.
Example Career Path: Mathematicians may choose to specialize in a particular area of mathematics. Those who have a strong research background may advance to senior positions in academia, such as associate or full-time professor. They may also move into managerial roles in a specific industry or the government.
General Description: Employ mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to analyze the economic consequences of risk, particularly in the insurance and finance industries.
Job Outlook: Projected to grow 21% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 2,400 openings projected each year.
Average Salary: $105,900
Standard Education: Most actuaries have a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, actuarial science, statistics, economics, or a related field. Some actuaries may also have a master’s degree. To become a fully qualified actuary, one must pass a series of professional actuarial exams, which are offered by actuarial organizations such as the Society of Actuaries (SOA) or the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS). Also, a master’s degree is favorable for more seasoned positions.
Example Career Path: Actuaries with an extensive understanding of risk management and its application in business may progress to executive-level positions such as Chief Risk Officer or Chief Financial Officer.
4. Computer Programmer
General Description: Write code in various programming languages to create software programs and use algorithms to write, test, and debug code.
Job Outlook: Projected to grow 10% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 9,600 openings projected each year.
Average Salary: $93,000
Standard Education: A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field is typically required. Some employers may also accept a degree in mathematics, physics, or another relevant field, combined with experience in programming. With a master’s degree, there is opportunity for higher salaries.
Example Career Path: With experience, programmers can advance to become senior or lead programmers. A programmer with software development and management experience could become their organization’s Chief Technology Officer.
5. Operations Research Analyst
General Description: Uses mathematical and statistical methods to solve complex business problems and make better decisions. They work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, finance, and healthcare.
Job Outlook: Projected to grow 23% from 2021 to 2031, with an estimated 10,300 openings projected each year.
Average Salary: $82,360
Standard Education: A bachelor’s or master’s degree in operations research, mathematics, computer science, engineering, or a related field is usually required for entry-level positions. Some employers may require a graduate degree in operations research or a related field.
Example Career Path: An operations research analyst could advance into an analytics manager and oversee teams of analysts. Those with this experience and a desire to develop an organization’s analytics strategy could become Director of Operations Research or a Chief Analytics Officer.
What Can You Do With a Master’s in Applied Mathematics?
Earning an MS in Applied Mathematics can help you stand out as a candidate for any of the jobs listed above. It demonstrates that you have a strong foundation in mathematical concepts, an understanding of both theoretical and practical mathematics, and the experience to apply these concepts to real-world problems.
Additionally, a master’s can unlock opportunities for further education and professional development and earn higher salaries. Many people with this degree go on to pursue PhDs in mathematics or related fields, as well as take on leadership roles in their fields. These expanded prospects often lead to a larger salary, as well.
Earn Your Master’s in Applied and Computational Mathematics
Earning a Master’s in Applied and Computational Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University will provide you with the knowledge, skills, and network needed to accelerate your career in applied mathematics. Choose a focus area such as probability and statistics or simulation and modeling to advance your knowledge in a more specific direction.
JHU offers a part-time, online path to allow students to continue working while pursuing their education through our Engineering for Professionals program. As a student, you can rely on resources such as our career services and a vast alumni network to navigate the next step of your career path. If you are interested in learning more about the Master’s in Applied and Computational Mathematics at JHU, visit the program page or reach out to the admissions department with any questions.